Wood-based biodiesel in Finland: Market-mediated impacts on emissions and costs.

Juha Forsström, Kim Pingoud, Johanna Pohjola, Terhi Vilen, Lauri Valsta, Hans Verkerk

Research output: Book/ReportBookScientificpeer-review


Renewable energy targets create an increasing demand for bioenergy and transportationbiofuels across the EU region. In Finland, forest biomass is the mainbioenergy source and appears to be the most promising source for transportationbiofuel production.
In this study, a biodiesel strategy based on domestic forest biomass is analysedusing an integrated modelling framework. A market-oriented framework is appliedto estimate the potential greenhouse gas impacts of achieving a national transportbiofuel target (10% vs. 20% of total consumption) under the current climate andenergy policy obligations. The cost-minimising adaptation of the energy system topolicy targets, the demand for wood biomass and emissions from the energy systemincluding the transportation sector are described using the energy systemmodel EPOLA – a dynamic linear optimization model. The resulting response ofthe Finnish forests (their carbon balance) to the increasing demand for wood biomassis modelled using the EFISCEN forest model.
The analysis demonstrates the importance of including market-mediated impactsin the analysis. The majority of adjustments toward the biofuel target takesplace in the ETS sector, among the energy producers participating in the EUEmission Trading System, even though the transportation biofuel target is setwithin the non-ETS sector. The demand for wood in biorefineries raises the woodprice thereby weakening its competitive position against fossil fuels. In consequence,wood is likely to be partly replaced by fossil fuels within the ETS sector,for example in district heating. In addition, biorefineries would increase the totaluse of electricity. Thus, fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions in the ETS sectorwithin the Finnish borders would increase.
Total cumulative emissions, including the non-ETS sector and the forest carbonbalance, are slightly lower in the biodiesel scenarios than in the baselines. Intransport and in the non-ETS sector in general, the decrease in emissions takesfull effect immediately, whilst the decrease in carbon sink in the Finnish forestsappears to be gradual. The impact on the carbon sink is fairly small because woodharvesting increases by less than the amount of wood used for biodiesel production.The increase in emissions from the Finnish ETS sector is not accounted for inthe total emissions, because at the EU level, emissions in the ETS sector arefixed. Any increase in ETS emissions in Finland has to be compensated by thepurchase of emission allowances, and the corresponding emission reduction takes place elsewhere in the ETS area. The possible carbon leakage due to the increaseduse of forest or imported biomass elsewhere in the EU is excluded fromthis analysis.
Biodiesel proves not to be a cost-effective measure for attaining climate or renewablestargets. This is due to the low efficiency of the biodiesel chain in displacingfossil diesel emissions. Just from the mitigation point of view, the direct burningof solid wood biomass in energy-efficient boilers should be favoured.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages48
ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7618-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7619-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeC1 Scientific book

Publication series

NameVTT Technology
ISSN (Print)2242-1211
ISSN (Electronic)2242-122X

Fields of Science

  • 4112 Forestry
  • 220 Industrial biotechnology

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